Monday, 13 September 2010

Armenian Journalists face Deportation threat from Turkey

Turkey's border security guards threatened to deport journalists from Armenia who had arrived in Istanbul's Ataturk airport for a Sept. 13–15 seminar on the role of media in improving cooperation and security in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and in the region.

All the passengers on Yerevan - Istanbul flight, including 11 journalists who were going to participate in the media seminar, had their passports taken away.
When one of the seminar organizers, Yervan Press Club Director and prominent Armenian journalist Boris Navasardyan, who arrived on the same flight, attempted to intervene, he was threatened with deportation.

"Turkish immigration service interrogated us and about two dozen other passengers who arrived to Istanbul on our flight. They were asking for proof, that the visitors had enough financial means for their stay and return," Boris Navasardian said in a written statement released after the incident. Mr. Navasardian pointed out, that the "special interrogation" in the airport was only related to the passengers arriving from Yerevan and didn't concern passengers arrived to Istanbul Airport from other destinations. Turkish border guards provided no explanation for their actions.

The situation was resolved only after the intervention of Turkish organizers of the seminar.

I've visited Istanbul on numerous occasions, including two visits with Mr. Navasardian as part of YPC projects, and this is the first time I'm hearing of something scandalous like this. This is such a pity, because here, in the Armenian media world, we consider Istanbul and Tbilisi the most convenient and logical destinations for meeting our Azerbaijani colleagues to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

I very much hope, that this is a single, separate incident, especially as I plan to visit Istanbul sometime in the near future.

The seminar is organized by the Yerevan Press Club (Armenia), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung), Yeni Nesil Journalists' Union (Azerbaijan) and Global Political Trends Centre.

Sources: YPCEpress.amBlansh. Photo: Blansh

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